How to put tinsel in a christmas tree

How to Put Tinsel On a Christmas Tree & Decorate Like a Professional

Steps to Decorate a Christmas Tree with Tinsel and Ornaments

Have you ever found yourself getting tangled up in a tinsel tornado of a mess in a vague attempt to decorate your Christmas tree?

Good, because we most definitely understand that struggle far too well for our liking.

You want your tree to look elegant, bold, and brighter than the sun. But it’s hard to do that when you don’t know where the lights fit, how to wrap tinsel around each branch, or what order to hang your baubles in.

No need to panic though, since our savvy little elves here at OpenforChristmas have been working hard gathering all the info and tools you need to put that troublesome tinsel on your tree the right way.

Read on to find out just how to put tinsel on a tree and hang your tree decorations like a Christmas pro!

Related: How To Decorate A Christmas Tree With Ribbon

Decorating Your Christmas Tree with Tinsel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Part 1 – Preparing your Christmas Tree

To prepare and decorate your Christmas tree, you must first decide which kind of tree would be best suited to your home and lifestyle.  

If you abhor the dreaded clean up that comes with real traditional trees, then we recommend opting for an artificial Christmas tree

However, if the scent of natural pine and a wood trunk fill you with festive warmth, then check out these potted Christmas trees from ChristmasTreesDirect.

Once you’ve found your forever tree, you can now move on to getting it primed and prepped for decorating.

Step 1: Measure Your Tree

To measure your tree, you must take into consideration two key elements:

1. Height

In their guide on how to choose an artificial Christmas tree, leading Christmas tree brand Balsam Hill recommends buying a tree that is at least 15cm (6 inches) shorter than the height of your ceiling/room, to ensure that there will be enough space for a tree topper.

Ask yourself this, when deciding how tall of a Christmas tree you want: will this height of [—] cm/inches allow enough room for all of the decorations that I want to hang on this tree?

Certain decorations such as LED lights or tinsel garlands differ in length according to where you buy them from. Therefore, you need to make a decision: do you want to pick a tree that’s tall enough to accommodate the length of your decorations? Alternatively, do you want to cut your tinsel to length to fit your tree?

If you opt for the former, you will need to find a tree that will allow you to drape your lights and your tinsel in a staggered manner, from the tip of the tree right down to the base. On the other hand, if you opt for the latter, you can pick any tree length that you want, and even if it’s short, you can cut the tinsel to size.

2. Width of Floor Space Needed

One of the first things you should do before deciding which kind of Christmas tree you want to buy is to: measure the spot where you intend to display your Christmas tree; then choose a tree that will best fit within your desired space.

If your tree is too thin, you would be better off decorating it with fewer decorations, as the traditional style of decorating (lights, tinsel, baubles, ornaments and candy canes, etc.) will overcrowd your tree and damage the branches.

However, if your Christmas tree is too full, the decorations could appear too sparse and you may have to invest in twice the amount of decorations to fill any voids.

To get around this, we recommend opting for a ‘Slim’ tree. Slim Christmas trees represent the midpoint between the two extremes and allow you to decorate your tree to your heart’s content.

Step 2: Tweak the Branches

To get that authentic, natural appearance on your artificial tree, you must tweak the branches on your tree. Whether or not your tree is artificial, Christmas tree branches often need some major tweaking to get that full, vibrant look.

Well-positioned branches with fluffy pines offer a perfect blank canvas on which to hang your lights and tinsel. Without a well-planned tree structure, your decorations can look uneven, unbalanced and messy.

As John Lewis Assistant Buyer Christmas, Scott Bartle advises, “If you’ve fluffed your tree and the lights are even, you can’t go wrong.”

Step 3: Choose a Colour Scheme

Choosing a streamlined, vibrant colour scheme for your decorations and lights is key to crafting a well-balanced Christmas tree that adds warmth and Christmas joy to your home.

If you mix colours that don’t blend well, then you’ll end up with an eyesore rather than an elegant work of art.

Traditionally, most Christmas trees are decorated in warm, festive colours such as reds, greens, golds and yellows. Red symbolises fire, love, excitement and joy, while greens imbue a sense of life, vivacity and nature, bringing the forest right into your home. 

Golds are mainly used to imply luxury and decadence and mimic the ribbons of Christmas presents. The combination of these three colours blends flawlessly to give your home that extra oomph of Christmas joy.

For an authentic winter glow, you can add white Christmas tree lights. White tree lights are particularly bright and eye-catching, which is why we recommend also using these for outdoor Christmas lights. Check out our full guide on the best LED Christmas lights here.

Remember: How do you want your space to feel? For a cosy, fireplace-adjacent experience, blend rich, warm colours. For an icy, North-Pole-esque vibe, consider mixing blue and white.

Part 2 – Decorating your Christmas Tree

Step 1: Lead with the Lights

The first step in decorating your Christmas tree is to add your Christmas tree lights.

As logic would dictate, the best way to decorate a Christmas tree is to start from the top and work your way down. Believe us, we’ve made the same mistake dozens of times over.

However, to ensure that you have enough room for your tree topper, it’s best to start at the base of the trunk, winding the lights around the branches from the bottom up to the tip of the tree (and back, if you still have excess lights).

The best Christmas tree lights are well distributed with no obvious gaps or voids between the branches. There should be gaps of no more than one inch between each bulb, and no more than six inches between each branch.

For a great set of lights that will turn your tree into a glittering winter wonderland, look no further than the LED String Lights from Mygoto, available on Amazon. These lights come with 8 different light modes, perfect for transforming your living room into party central!

Step 2: Time for Tinsel

As decorating trends go, the tradition of decorating your Christmas tree with tinsel has certainly seen a decline in popularity over the years.

However, with inflation ever-growing, and the cost of Christmas reaching record highs in a nationwide pandemic, we’re all looking for cheap alternatives to the luxury norms. Tinsel garlands provide exactly that: a fun, low-cost way to decorate your tree in seasonal style.

So, how do you decorate your Christmas tree with tinsel?

The most important step is to first choose tinsel garlands in colours that match or blend well with your lights. For example, if your lighting scheme is a blend of warm yellows, reds and greens, then we suggest picking copper or gold tinsel to add to the cosy atmosphere. 

Alternatively, if you’re opting for more of a wintery theme with your lights, then we recommend blue or silver garlands of tinsel.

Now, to hang your tinsel, simply drape one strand across each level of branches, working your way up from the trunk in stages.

For some inspiration, Amazon currently offers a range of silver, copper, red or multicoloured tinsel to suit each festive style.

You can check out their full range here.

Step 3: Baubles, Bells and Balance

Here’s where the whole family can join in with the fun!

As with your tinsel, you must choose baubles that match the overall colour scheme of your lights and Christmas tree in general.

For example, red and white Christmas tree décor works really well.

Hanging baubles is a bit like a math equation: you should start from the inside of your tree and work outwards, making sure to leave reasonable gaps between each.

Start with a plain base of baubles for the deeper sections of the tree then as you work outwards, add baubles with some sparkle. Use bigger baubles to fill the interior, adding depth and volume; then, place the smaller baubles along the tips of the branches for boldness.

This 24-piece Christmas Bauble set from YXC offers a mix of both plain and decorated red and white baubles for that traditional theme. To match your blue or silver scheme, we recommend picking up the Mini Christmas Tree Baubles from Christmas Concepts.

Alternatively, if you want to go all out and decorate your tree to the hilt, we recommend the Xmas Tree Hanging Christmas Balls 100-piece set from Aitsite, available on Amazon.

Related: Christmas Tree Baubles: The Best Ultimate Guide

Step 4: Top it All Off with your Tree Topper

Traditionally, whenever we think of the crowning masterpiece, we think of religious symbols like the Star of Bethlehem or angelic icons and cherubs.

However, there are so many unconventional tree toppers out there to choose from.

You could add a sense of childlike whimsy and fun with a Santa-esque topper, like the Swedish Gnome Xmas Tree Topper from Amosfun, available on Amazon.

Or, you could bring the festive frost inside, with this Snowman Tree Topper from Dee Banna, also available on Amazon.

Or, if you happen to be a stickler for that traditional Christian vibe, we recommend checking out this beautiful 3D Geometric Star from Lewondr.

Related: The Best Christmas Tree Topper for Your Tree

Unusual Christmas Tree Decorations

Stringing Popcorn

Taking a frosted leaf out of the Big Book of American Christmas Traditions, you could partake in the old-fashioned tradition of wrapping your Christmas tree in garlands of popcorn.

A tradition that was brought over to America by German immigrants, using popcorn as a holiday decoration became popular in the 19th and 20th centuries due to the failing economy, and the fact that cheap snack foods were seen as a fun Christmas treat by many youngsters.

As a way of making the popcorn festive and fun, they would colour the popcorn using various dyes, load other snacks onto the strings, such as nuts, fruits and seeds.

How to Make Your Own Popcorn Garland:

1. Use wax-covered dental floss, fishing line, or sewing thread, and a tapestry needle.

2. Tie a knot at one end of the string so that the kernels don’t fall off.

3. Use popcorn that is at least a day old (newly-popped kernels break very easily).

4. Thread the needle cautiously through the middle of the popcorn.

5. Move each kernel to the end of the string once you’ve loaded them individually.

6. If you want to include dried fruits or nuts, load your string in an alternating pattern; for example, popcorn-nut-popcorn, or popcorn-fruit-popcorn, etc…

Bear in mind that if you’re using fresh fruit instead of dried, you will have to prepare for potential juice stains by wearing some old, unused clothes and to protect the area that you’re working in with newspaper or cloth.

Final Thoughts on How to Put Tinsel On a Christmas Tree & Decorate Like a Pro

There you have it: the fruits of your labour actualised in a well-balanced, striking tree decorated to the very stars Mary and Joseph walked under all those centuries ago.

Now, in the dusk of the start to a new decade, all that’s left to do is find, wrap and put the presents under the glittering masterpiece that is your Christmas tree!

Related Christmas Decoration Articles:

  • The Best Artificial Christmas Trees 2020
  • The Best Christmas Tree Topper for Your Tree
  • How To Decorate A Christmas Tree With Ribbon
  • Ultimate Guide to Victorian Christmas Decorations
  • Christmas Tree Baubles: The Best Ultimate Guide
  • The Best LED Christmas Lights in the US
  • Best Red and White Christmas Tree Decorations
  • The Best Farmhouse Christmas Ornaments and Easy DIY Ideas

How to Put Tinsel On a Christmas Tree & Decorate Like a Pro

Tinsel Covered Trees are Back!

The word tinsel comes from an Old French word “estincele”, which means sparkle. When I was a kid, we hung tinsel on our Christmas tree … one strand at a time!  Tinsel covered trees bring back so many memories and I love that they are making a big comeback! I’m so excited to share some of the most jaw dropping tinsel trees from here to the North Pole.

Tinsel dates back to 1610 Nuremberg, Germany where it was made using REAL SILVER that was pounded into very thin strands. It reflected the candlelight (yes, they used real candles on their trees back in the day!) Needless to say, it was EXPENSIVE not to mention that it would turn black and break when exposed to heat from the candles.

Over the years, other materials like lead were used to make tinsel but today, it’s made from PVC (plastic) coated in a metallic finish. Plastic tinsel does not hang as well as tinsel made from heavy metals such as silver and lead but life is a trade off after all (new tinsel is affordable and we won’t die from lead poisoning)!

This Christmas tree is covered in antique metal tinsel that drips from its branches! Hundreds of Shiny Brite ornaments and an old glass tree topper add to the nostalgic feel of this tree from Vintage Holiday who says, “This is my favorite tree I’ve ever done and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

Vintage Holiday does it again with this tabletop tree covered in antique lead tinsel. I love it paired with big, colorful bulb lights!

He takes vintage Christmas to the max with his collections of Putz houses, bottle brush trees, Christmas cards strung on garland, and blow molds!

Sean of Sean Anderson Design tree is dripping in tinsel!

Erika of While Florian Sleeps draped tinsel over a fully decorated tree, that includes lots of vintage ornaments, for a lush look.

“To me, Christmas is a time for nostalgia and magic. Some of these ornaments date back to the 1940’s which is incredible!!! Each is so unique and holds many memories of Christmases past,” says Erika.

Says Natalie Paramore about her tinsel tree

“1,200 warm lights⁣
16,000 strands of tinsel⁣
Not a single ornament ⁣
Willow, you’re perfect⁣

Willow is the name of our tree that she had when we got her. This year I was feeling something different for our tree. As we pulled down all the boxes from the attic full of decor and ornaments, I just wasn’t feeling inspired. Most of the ornaments have been gifted to us or passed down. And while they are very sentimental and I’ll never get rid of them, this year, I just needed something different. ⁣So, the boxes went back to the attic. Tinsel and lights galore were purchased and here we are. Couldn’t love it more.”

Dana of Adored House says, “I wasn’t going to do it, but I did it – I tried my hand at a tinsel tree! I’m already slightly regretting it, but there’s no turning back now! It sure is pretty though.”

I love Dana’s color palette of silver, gold and green on her beautiful tinsel tree.

Marcela Sampson’s tinsel covered tree is the perfect hiding place for her toddler! What fun Christmas memories this kid is going to have!

Designer J.P. Horton shares his grandparents 1948 tinsel covered Christmas tree.

Let’s all channel our inner Cary Grant and Loretta Young in the Bishop’s Wife and create the most epic tinsel tree of all time!

Are you team tinsel or does the thought of hanging strand after strand of tinsel on each and every branch send you into Christmas cookie eating frenzy to self soothe?

A few years ago, my friend gave me some antique lead tinsel and it’s stunning! I don’t have enough to cover an entire tree but a girl can dream.

I always find vintage tinsel at the thrift store (not the antique, lead kind unfortunately) but if you can’t find any locally, you can find affiliate boxes of new tinsel here.

Love vintage Christmas?

How to decorate a Christmas tree at home

What is the upcoming New Year without a Christmas tree? At the end of December, she takes pride of place in the living room and becomes the center of attraction for all home and guests. The tradition of decorating this forest beauty for the most important solemn event of winter appeared in ancient times and to this day does not lose its relevance. Classic solutions and newfangled trends will be discussed in this article.

Classic Christmas tree decoration

How to decorate a Christmas tree without following any canons and styles? Yes, it’s very simple and all that may be needed for this is a garland, toys and tinsel. The garland is hung from top to bottom, but the toys can be placed in any order, although here you can follow the basic rules.

For example, choose only balls from the existing variety and hang them in a ring order, preferring balls of a certain color for each ring. In principle, if desired, they can be hung in longitudinal stripes or in a spiral - as you like.

How can you decorate a Christmas tree at home? Decorate the resulting design with tinsel. Moreover, it is not at all necessary to hang it along the lines, but to tie it with giant bows and distribute it between them.

Keeping up with the times, it is recommended to adhere to the rules of 2-3 colors in the selection of colors for toys, that is, use only two or three shades in the decoration. Red and gold, gold and brown, red and white, lilac and blue go well with each other.

Original decorating ideas

There are no guidelines on how to properly decorate a Christmas tree. Everything should come from the heart and please the owner of the house and his close people. Recently, it has become fashionable to use this New Year's attribute for self-expression, demonstrating the main idea. For example, a marine theme suggests the presence of shells, starfish, mud as tinsel on a tree.

Those who dream of wealth should attach banknotes to spruce paws, and the future car owner can bet on the presence of small models of the desired car on the tree. You can beautifully decorate a live or artificial Christmas tree at home with balls tied with yarn and adjacent to knitted mini boots, mittens, hats.

You don't even need to have a real forest beauty to make your fantasies come true. You can draw it on the wall or use a ready-made application, and attach the toys and other accessories to the wall with tape or buttons.

A forest beauty looks very unusual, on whose paws hang varnished dried fruits, citrus circles, painted gingerbread, wooden handicrafts, garlands of mini postcards.

Decorating a white Christmas tree

How to decorate a white Christmas tree? Such a beauty will fit into any interior and bring a touch of elegance to it. You can achieve a spectacular bright glow if you use a garland of the same color, although the usual yellow bulbs will not spoil the original appearance.

As decorative elements, you can take bows and ribbons, both plain and with a pattern, stripes. They can be matched to the color of toys or vice versa, play in contrast.

Origami, paper garlands and fans will become a wonderful decoration for the snow-white beauty.

What color to decorate such a Christmas tree? White and silver balls are welcome, which will emphasize the amazing snowiness of the tree.

Contrasting ones will enliven it, but if you have multi-colored balloons, then you can make your most cherished desires come true and even build a multi-colored rainbow! Any unusual creative ideas will be in the theme - cookies and gingerbread, sweets, colorful houses, funny snowmen.

You can combine different shapes, shades and textures and not be afraid to pass for tasteless: such a Christmas tree will cause a flurry of emotions among relatives and guests! In any case, only you should like it and reflect your vision of the world and the beauty in it. Good luck!

Question: "Rain" on the tree - outdated or still not

A New Year tree without tinsel, looks like a disco without dancing, really, really. For many of us, the warmest childhood memories are associated with tinsel and “rain”.

Fotograf Camilla Ropers

Before the holiday, shiny threads were taken out of the box with toys, carefully unraveled, and then thrown on the branches of the Christmas tree. This was the final stage of decoration, and the New Year was about to come.

Julia Schoppe

Remember that moment on New Year's Eve when the door to the room opened and… step by step you approached the Christmas tree decorated with gold and silver “rain”. And if the cat did not have time to pull a dozen or two shiny threads from the branches, the tree shone until the end of the school holidays.

Fact : Twenty years ago, there was more "rain" in the New Year's decor - this can be clearly seen from photographs in family albums.

Tinsel has won
Now sparkling gold and silver threads are almost never found in mass decor. Look around: at the decorated Christmas trees in cafes, shop windows, at city holidays for children - there are only balls and tinsel. Where is that “rain” from childhood? When was the last time you saw him at the Christmas tree?

Photo: IMG_0588 by tomylees is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Julia Schoppe

In Europe, "rain" is almost not sold
The demand for "rain" has fallen, and in Europe it is almost impossible to find a factory that still produces this element of New Year's decor. For example, the last German raincoat factory, Riffelmacher & Weinberger, stopped production in 2015, and, at least in Germany, an era is over.

Julia Schoppe

Of course, the "rain" is still made in China, and in Russia there are many local industries that produce, in addition to New Year's toys, this type of decoration.

But the tinsel is also leaving (garlands are crowding it)
Glitter and kitsch in Christmas tree decor have been replaced by ecodesign with its concept of sustainable development, recycling and minimal interference with nature. Instead of plastic balls - wooden and plywood toys. Instead of fluffy "boas" tinsel - monophonic garlands, without flashing four colors of light bulbs.

Maike Piorr | Fotografie

And soon everything will be back!
The 1970s are gradually returning to the fashion runways and the world of design. With her love for bright colors, shimmer and sparkle of details. And this makes one wonder: how long have we abandoned the “rain”?

Those who still look doubtfully at the shiny Christmas trees, let them wait a few years.

Learn more